Dave Porter At Bear Camp - or, The Wild Man of Mirror Lake

Dave Porter At Bear Camp - or, The Wild Man of Mirror Lake

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Project Gutenberg's Dave Porter At Bear Camp, by Edward Stratemeyer
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Title: Dave Porter At Bear Camp  The Wild Man of Mirror Lake
Author: Edward Stratemeyer
Illustrator: Walter S. Rogers
Release Date: August 30, 2009 [EBook #29859]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DAVE PORTER AT BEAR CAMP ***
Produced by David Edwards, Barbara Kosker and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
Dave Porter at Bear Camp
Edward Stratemeyer
OUT CAME A KETTLE,A FRYING-PAN,SOME KNIVES AND FORKS. Page 293.
Dave Porter Series
DAVE PORTER AT BEAR CAMP
OR
THE WILD MAN OF MIRROR LAKE
BY
EDWARD STRATEMEYER
Author of "Dave Porter at Oak Hall," "The Old Glory Series," "Colonial Series," "Pan-American Series," "Soldiers of Fortune Series," etc.
ToList
ILLUSTRATED BY WALTER S. ROGERS
BOSTON LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
Published, August, 1915
COPYRIGHT, 1915,BYLOTHROP, LEE& SHEPARDCO.
All rights reserved
DAVEPORTER AT BEAR CAMP
Norwood Press BERWICK & SMITH CO. NORWOOD, MASS. U. S. A.
PREFACE
"DAVEPORTER ATBEARCAMP" is a complete story in itself, but forms the eleventh volume in a line issued under the general title of "Dave Porter Series." As I have mentioned several times, this series was started a number of years ago by the publication of "Dave Porter at Oak Hall," in which my young readers were introduced to a typical, wide-awake American lad at an up-to-date American boarding school. The publication of this first volume was followed by that of "Dave Porter in the South Seas," whither the lad journeyed to clear up a question concerning his parentage. Then came "Dave Porter's Return to School," telling of more doings at Oak Hall; "Dave Porter in the Far North," in which he went on a second journey looking for his father; "Dave Porter and His Classmates," relating more happenings at school; "Dave Porter at Star Ranch," in which our hero participated in many adventures in the wild West; "Dave Porter and His Rivals," showing how he outwitted some of his old-time enemies; "Dave Porter on Cave Island," giving the particulars of a remarkable voyage on the ocean and strange doings ashore; "Dave Porter and the Runaways," in which the youth taught some of his chums a much-needed lesson; and finally "Dave Porter in the Gold Fields," in which the lad and a number of his chums went in quest of a gold mine, all traces of which had been lost through a landslide. The resent volume tells the articulars of a thrillin rescue from fire at sea, and how the bo s and irls,
along with some of the older folks, went for a vacation in a camp on the shore of a beautiful lake. Here, most unexpectedly, Dave fell in with one of his old enemies. The youth and his chums had some strenuous times, the particulars of which are given in the pages which follow. Once again I avail myself of the opportunity to thank my young readers for all the pleasant things they have said regarding my stories. I trust that the reading of this volume will benefit them all. EDWARDSRTREYEMETA. March 1, 1915.
CONTENTS
CHAPTER  I THEBOYS ONSHIPBOARD II SOMETHINGABOUT THEPAST III THERESCUE ATSEA IV BACK TOCRUMVILLE V DAVE ATHOME VI NEWS OFIMPORTANCE VII LINKMERWELLAGAIN VIII OFF FORBEARCAMP IXON THEROAD X CAUGHT IN ASTORM XI FROMONEHARDSHIP TOANOTHER XII A STROKE OFLIGHTNING XIII ATBEARCAMP XIV SOMETHING OF AQUARREL XV VISITORS XVI A STRANGECICUNIOATNMMO XVII THESWIMMINGRACE XVIII A CRY FROM THECLIFF XIX THECAPTURE OFLINKMERWELL XX BACK INCAMP XXI THEESCAPE XXII MORE OF AMYSTERY XXIII SHOOTING AWILDCAT XXIV THEMAN AT THECABIN XXV TWODEER XXVI STARTLINGNEWS XXVII WHATHAPPENED IN THENIGHT XXVIII DELLAFORD'SSTATEMENT XXIX THEBIGBEAR XXX GOODNEWS—CONCLUSION
ILLUSTRATIONS
Out came a kettle, a frying-pan, some knives and forks (Page 293)
 Dave caught her under the arms, and, treading water, brought both
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Frontispiece FACING PAGE
her and himself to the sursface Then, as Dave went after him, he broke into a run And then all the young folks fell to eating with great gusto "Hello! hello! Where are you going?" "It's a snake, and a big one!" "You just said that I was not Dave Porter. What do you mean by that?" Crack! Bang! The two pieces rang out in quick succession
DAVE PORTER AT BEAR CAMP
CHAPTER I
THE BOYS ON SHIPBOARD
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"Phil, your father seems to be a good deal worried this morning. I hope it isn't on account of the way we cut up on this ship last evening." "Not at all, Dave," returned Phil Lawrence. "I don't believe he noticed our monkey-shines. He is worried over the letter he received in the mail we got at our last stopping-place." "No bad news I hope?" said Roger Morr, another one of the group of boys seated on the forward deck of a small coastwise steamer. "Well, I think it is rather bad news," answered the son of the vessel's owner. "Poor dad stands to lose between twenty and thirty thousand dollars." "Twenty or thirty thousand dollars!" exclaimed Dave Porter. "Why, how can that be, Phil?" "Did he make a bad investment?" asked Ben Basswood, another youth of the group. "You can hardly call it a bad investment, Ben," returned Phil. "Buying the land was all right enough in the first place. It's trying to get rid of it that's the sticker." "You are talking in riddles, Phil," said Roger Morr. "Won't you explain?" "Maybe Phil doesn't care to explain," broke in Dave Porter, quickly. "It may be his father's private business, you know." "Oh, I don't think he'll object to my telling you the details," responded the shipowner's son. "It isn't very much of a secret where we live, or in East Haven." "East Haven? Is that the place across the river from where you live?" queried Dave Porter. "Yes. It's quite a bustling little town, too, although when my father and his older brother, Lester Lawrence, bought the tract of land there it didn't amount to much, and they got the ground for a song. " "I'd like to buy some land for a song," put in another youth of the group. "Then I might sell it and make a handsome profit. Say," he continued, his face brightening up, "that puts me in mind of a story. Once there was a man who wanted to—— " "Hold on, Shadow. It isn't your turn to tell stories now," interrupted Dave. "We want to hear what Phil has to say " . "This story wouldn't take but a minute," grumbled Maurice Hamilton, otherwise known as "Shadow. It's a " " dandy one, too." "All right, we'll listen to it later," returned Roger Morr. "Let us first hear what Phil has to tell." "It isn't so much of a story," said the shipowner's son. "You see, years ago my dad and his older brother purchased a tract of land at East Haven, along the waterfront. For some time it was idle, and then it was leased to a lumber company, who used it for a number of years as a lumber yard. At that time East Haven had no railroad, but the L. A. & H. line came through that way and wanted to cross the river at East Haven, and
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wanted to locate their railroad repair shops along the waterfront there. They have made my father an offer for the land, and if that tract could be sold my folks would stand to make a profit of twenty to thirty thousand dollars." "Well, why not sell the land then—unless you think it is worth more than the railroad company is willing to pay?" asked Dave. "My father is willing enough to sell, and has been for some time; but he can't give the railroad a clear title, and consequently the deal is at a standstill." "Oh, I see, Phil," said Roger Morr. "That is the worst of buying land that has a flaw in the title." "There wasn't any flaw in the title when my father and my Uncle Lester purchased the ground," returned the shipowner's son. And now his face clouded. "The trouble has all come up within the last five years—that is, it wouldn't have come up at all if it hadn't been for what happened about five years ago." "Oh, I think I know to what you refer, Phil," cried Dave, quickly. "I remember now that you told me about your old Uncle Lester. Didn't you ever hear from him?" "Not a word, Dave. And that is why my father can't sell the land." "I don't understand this," said Ben Basswood. "And neither do I," added Shadow Hamilton. "Well, it's this way: About five years ago my folks were connected with a trust company in the town where we live. My Uncle Lester was one of several men who had charge of certain funds, and these funds were kept in a safe-deposit vault belonging to the company. One day it was found that some of these funds had disappeared. Suspicion pointed to my uncle, and although he protested his entire innocence, some of the other trust company officials were in favor of having him arrested. A warrant was sworn out, but before it could be served my uncle left home and went to another State. Then the local paper came out with an article which stated that the bank officials had evidence that Lester Lawrence was undoubtedly guilty. My uncle got a copy of this paper—it was found later in the room he had occupied at a hotel—and this evidently frightened him so much that he disappeared." "Do you mean to say that he disappeared for good?" queried Ben. "Yes, he took a train out of town, and that was the last seen or heard of him. My father did all he could to locate Uncle Lester. He had men searching for him, and he advertised in the newspapers. But up to the present time he hasn't heard a word from him or of him. He is half inclined to believe that my uncle is dead." "Perhaps he went to some foreign country," suggested Dave. "But how does that affect the title to the land?" questioned Shadow Hamilton. "Easily enough, was the reply of the shipowner's son. "My uncle held a one-quarter interest in the tract. In " order to give a clear title to the railroad company it would be necessary for Uncle Lester to sign the deed. The railroad company—nor any one else for that matter—won't buy the land without a clear title." "I don't wonder that your father is worried," said Dave, sympathetically. "I suppose he feels just as bad over the continued absence of your uncle as he does over the fact that he can't sell the land and make a profit on it " . "That's just it, Dave," answered Phil. "We'd give a good deal to know what has become of Uncle Lester." "I suppose he doesn't dare come back for fear of being arrested," was Shadow's comment. "Even if he is innocent they may be able to convict him." "Oh, I forgot to tell you about that," burst out Phil. "Less than four months after my uncle disappeared, some men were arrested in Springfield, for a theft committed at one of the banks there. During the trial it came out that one of these criminals had been in our town during the time when the funds disappeared from our trust company. This rascal's movements were traced by the authorities, and then he was given what they call 'the third degree.' At that examination he broke down, and admitted that he had taken the funds which my Uncle Lester was supposed to have stolen. The affair created a great stir, and those who had proceeded against my uncle made all sorts of apologies to my father. They also did their best to locate Uncle Lester." "And didn't they hear anything at all?" asked Ben. "Not a word. We got what we thought were clues, but every one of them proved false." "Maybe he is dead. " "That may be. But if we can't prove it, it leaves the matter of the land just as unsettled as before." "If your uncle is alive he must remember about the land, and must know that the matter will give your father a lot of trouble," suggested Roger. "That is true, Roger. But when a man is accused of a grave crime like that, he isn't apt to think about other things." "You say he is older than your father?" queried Dave. "Oh, yes, a good deal older—ten or twelve years, at least. If he is still alive he must be well advanced in years. " "What does your father propose to do about the land?" questioned Ben, after a pause in the conversation. "He doesn't know what to do. He's at a com lete standstill."
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"Won't the railroad company lease the land?" questioned Dave. "No. They told dad that they wanted to buy and build. They prefer his land to any other in East Haven, but at the same time, if they can't get his property, they are going to look elsewhere." "Twenty or thirty thousand dollars is a heap of money to let slip through one's fingers," was Shadow's comment. "It's a shame you can't find out where your uncle is, or what has become of him " . "Why not advertise again?" suggested Dave. "If your uncle is still alive he must read some newspapers, and he might possibly see the notice." "Father thinks something of doing that, Dave, but it looks like rather a hopeless case," returned Phil Lawrence. He arose from the camp-chair on which he had been sitting, and stretched himself. "But come on, fellows," he continued. "There is no use of your worrying over our troubles. We came on this little trip to enjoy ourselves, and I want all of you to have the best time possible." "And we certainly have had a good time!" cried Dave. "Just as good a time as we had out in Yellowstone Park." "That is, Dave, considering the girls are not along," remarked Ben, with a wink at the others. "Well, of course that makes some difference, Ben," returned Dave, his face flushing a trifle. "Sure it does! A whole lot of difference!" declared Roger. "Just the same, we are having a dandy time, Phil," he added hastily. "The first outing of the Oak Hall Club is a big success." "It sure is!" broke in Shadow Hamilton. "Only I did hope we'd see a whale or some sharks or something like that," he added, regretfully. "I suppose if you saw a shark, Shadow, you'd jump right overboard to interview him, wouldn't you?" queried Ben, and gave a snicker. "Say, speaking of sharks puts me in mind of a story!" cried Shadow. "Once there was a sailor who had traveled all around the world. He met a lady in Boston who wanted him to tell her a shark story. Says the sailor: 'Madam, I've seen sharks in the Atlantic an' the Pacific an' the Indian Oceans, but all of them sharks wasn't a patch to the shark I once met on land.' 'On land!' cried the lady from Boston. 'Do you mean to say that you met a shark on land?' 'I did, Madam,' answered the sailor. 'I met a shark right in New York, and he did me out of every copper I had in my pockets. He was a hotel-keeper who played cards.'" And at this little yarn there was a general smile. "Pretty good for a fish story," was Roger's comment. "Just the same, I don't want to fall in with any sharks whether on land or at sea." "Before we land to-night, I want to settle about this outing we expect to take at Mirror Lake," said Dave. "If you fellows are going along, we'll have to make the necessary arrangements." "Well, you can count on me, Dave," returned Roger, promptly. "I told you at the start that I'd be glad to go with you." "And so will I be glad to go," added Phil. "I've got to find out what my folks want me to do first," said Shadow. He looked curiously at Dave, who was gazing far out to sea. "What are you looking at, Dave?" he asked. "I'm watching that smoke out there," was the answer. "That's only the smoke from some incoming steamer," returned Ben. "I noticed that a few minutes ago " . "Maybe it is from a steamer," returned Dave, "but I don't think it is coming from any funnel."  "What do you think it is—a fire?" cried Phil. And at these words all the boys on the deck rushed to the rail. "It looks that way to me. Let us get the glasses and find out." "I'll get them!" cried Roger; and lost no time in disappearing into the cabin. A minute later he reappeared with a pair of powerful marine glasses which he handed to Phil. The glasses were quickly adjusted, and the shipowner's son took a hasty look seaward. "It's a small steamer, all right," he announced. "Just as sure as you're born, there's a fire on board." "Fire!" repeated Roger. "If she's on fire we ought to go to the rescue!" exclaimed Dave.
CHAPTER II
SOMETHING ABOUT THE PAST
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"What's this I hear about fire?" The question came from a burly, pleasant-faced man, who had just appeared on deck, close to the boys. It was Mr. Lawrence, the owner of the steamer. "Why, Dad, there's a steamer out there, and we think she's on fire," answered Phil, quickly. "Here, take a look at her." And he handed over the marine glasses. "On fire!" exclaimed Mr. Lawrence, and raised the glasses to his eyes. "By Jove, boys, I think you're right! Phil, call Captain Bradley, and be quick about it. You'll find him in the after cabin. I just left him there." The son darted off, and while he was gone Mr. Lawrence and the boys took turns in looking through the glasses at the distant vessel. The smoke was now increasing, and as it did not come from the funnel of the steamer, there was no doubt but that the vessel was on fire. "You sent for me, Mr. Lawrence?" inquired the captain of the steamer, as he hurried up with Phil at his heels. "Yes, Captain. There's another steamer out there, and we are pretty sure she's on fire," answered Mr. Lawrence. "Change your course and put on speed." And as he spoke the shipowner turned the glasses over to the captain. Captain Bradley gave one searching look. "It's true! She's on fire, and we had better get to her as soon as possible!" he cried, and then hurried away to give the necessary directions. Soon the bow of theEaglet, which was the name of the steamer, was headed in the direction of the craft that seemed to be in trouble. "If she's really in danger, I hope we get there soon enough to help those on board," said Dave. "Captain Bradley will do his best; you can rely on that," answered Mr. Lawrence, gravely. "But that steamer is farther off than some of you may imagine. Distances over the water are rather deceptive. " Many of my young readers are doubtless already well acquainted with Dave Porter. For the benefit of those who are now meeting the youth for the first time, something of an introduction may not be out of place. When but a child of tender age, our hero had been found one day walking along the railroad tracks near the town of Crumville. He could tell nothing about himself or where he belonged, and was taken to the local poorhouse, where he remained for a number of years, finally being bound out to a retired college professor, named Caspar Potts, who was then running a small farm for his health. The professor did what he could for the lad, giving him a fairly good education. But Professor Potts was no farmer and soon got into financial difficulties with a mean money-lender, named Aaron Poole, and would have lost his farm had it not been for something out of the ordinary happening. One of the main industries of Crumville was a large jewelry factory, owned by Mr. Oliver Wadsworth. Mr. Wadsworth had a beautiful young daughter, named Jessie, and one day through an explosion of an automobile gasoline tank, the young miss was in danger of being burned to death when Dave came to her rescue. This so pleased the Wadsworths that they came not only to the aid of the boy, but also assisted Caspar Potts, who was discovered to be one of Mr. Wadsworth's former instructors at college. "The lad shall go to boarding-school and get a good education," said Oliver Wadsworth. And he accordingly sent Dave away from home, as related in the first book of this series, entitled "Dave Porter at Oak Hall." At that school our hero made many warm friends, including Phil Lawrence, the son of a wealthy shipowner; Roger Morr, the offspring of a United States senator; Shadow Hamilton, who was known far and wide for his yarn-spinning qualities; and many others. In those days the great cloud resting over Dave had been the question of his identity, and when some of his enemies spoke of him as "that poorhouse nobody," he resolved to find out who he really was. Getting a strange clue, he set out on a remarkable ocean voyage, as related in "Dave Porter in the South Seas," and was gratified to fall in with his uncle, Dunston Porter, a great hunter and traveler. Then the lad came back to Oak Hall, as related in "Dave Porter's Return to School." He next went in quest of his father, as told in "Dave Porter in the Far North." "Now they can't say that I'm a 'poorhouse nobody,'" he told his chums, after having met his father. And then, with a light heart, he came back to boarding-school once again, as related in "Dave Porter and His Classmates." Here he made more friends than ever, but likewise some bitter enemies, including one Link Merwell, the son of a ranch-owner of the West. Merwell did all he could to cause Dave trouble, but in the end was exposed and had to leave Oak Hall. "I hope I never fall in with Link Merwell again," Dave said to his school chums, but this was not to be. Dave had not only found his father and an uncle, but he had also found a sister, Laura Porter, who was very dear to him. Laura had a young lady friend, named Belle Endicott, who lived in the Far West, and through this friend Dave and his chums, and also Laura, as well as Jessie Wadsworth, received an invitation to spend some time at the Endicott place. They had a great deal of fun and not a few adventures, all of which have been set down in "Dave Porter at Star Ranch." Not far from the Endicott place was the home of Link Merwell, and that young man, as before, tried to make trouble, but his efforts were frustrated and he left home under a cloud. From the ranch Dave and his chums returned again to Oak Hall, as recorded in "Dave Porter and His Rivals." Then came the Christmas Holidays, and Dave went back to Crumville, where he and his folks were now living with the Wadsworth family in their elegant mansion on the outskirts of the town. Directly after Christmas there was a thrillin ewelr robber at Mr. Wadsworth's factor . It was Dave, aided b some of his
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chums, who got on the track of the robbers and trailed them to the South and then to sea, as related in "Dave Porter on Cave Island." When our hero and his chums went back to Oak Hall they imagined that their adventures were at an end. But soon came in news of a strange man who was terrorizing the neighborhood. Some very unusual things happened, including an attempt to blow up a neighboring hotel. Some of the students were thought guilty, and fearing arrest, they fled in terror, as told of in "Dave Porter and the Runaways." Dave was not one of those who ran away, but he did go after the others, and made them come back to face the music, and also helped to clear up what had been a great mystery. Then all the boys graduated from Oak Hall, Dave receiving high honors. It is needless to say that our hero at that time was one of the happiest boys in the world. His folks and Jessie Wadsworth came to the graduation, which was celebrated with big bonfires, music by a band, and refreshments in the gymnasium. Dave had promised Roger Morr that he would pay the Senator's son a visit. He did so, along with Phil and some others, and on that occasion heard about a gold mine which had been willed to Mrs. Morr, and which had been completely swallowed up by a landslide. Numerous searches had been made for this lost mine, but up to that time without result. "Let us go in search of the lost mine," Dave had said. And how he and Roger and some of the others made the trip to the West and went on a hunt for the mine has been told in detail in the volume entitled "Dave Porter in the Gold Fields." While the lads were on this quest, they again fell in with Link Merwell, who with Job Haskers, a former teacher at Oak Hall, was also trying to locate the lost mine. The two parties had many adventures, and when at last the missing mine was relocated, there came another landslide which nearly cost Dave and his friends their lives. When they finally reached a place of safety they were joined by a man from the other party who had suffered severely, and who told them that Link Merwell and Job Haskers, as well as a third person of the party, had been swept away to their death. Later on Dave and his friends had looked for the missing persons, but had been unable to locate them. The finding of the Landslide Mine, as it was called, had been of great financial benefit to the Morr family, and they had been so pleased that they had given Dave and some of the others a share in the holding. In the meanwhile our hero and his chums, along with their friends, had finished their outing in the West by a grand tour through Yellowstone Park, on which they were accompanied by Dave's sister, Jessie and Belle, and some others. "Now you fellows have got to come on a little trip with me," Phil had said, after coming East, and had explained that a small steamer belonging to his father was then tied up at Philadelphia, getting ready for a trip to Portland, Maine, and back. "That will be fine," Dave had answered; and a little later a party had been made up, including Phil, Dave, Roger, and Shadow, and also Ben Basswood, who, as my old readers know, was one of Dave's old friends from Crumville. With the boys went Mr. Lawrence. When embarking on this trip, none of those on board had dreamed of the strenuous time now so close at hand. "I wonder how long it will take us to reach that vessel?" observed Roger, after Mr. Lawrence had followed the captain. "A quarter of an hour at least," replied Dave. "It will depend somewhat on how much steam the firemen can get up. I don't believe we are running at full speed now." "This steamer used to be a pretty good boat," said Phil, "but she is getting old now, and I heard dad say something about laying her up for repairs next Fall." "Wonder if we'll get a chance to do any rescue work," observed Ben. "I guess we'll do all we can," returned Shadow. "Look! Look!" cried Dave, pointing with his hand. "The smoke is getting thicker than ever!" "Maybe the poor people on that steamer will have to jump overboard before we can reach them," said Phil. "A fire like that must be pretty hot." Soon the youths knew by the pounding of the engine that theEagletwas running at increased speed. The course had been changed, and now the craft was headed directly for the burning boat. "She's a rather small affair, that's certain," remarked Roger.
"Looks to me as if she might be a pleasure boat," remarked Phil, who, taking after his father, knew considerable about sea-going matters. "She's a private steam yacht, to my way of thinking." And later on this proved to be the case. As theEagletcloser to the burning vessel, the boys saw that there was great excitement on board thedrew steam yacht. Sailors and others were rushing to and fro over the deck, and two streams of water from hoses were being directed to one part of the vessel, down a hatchway. The smoke was as thick as ever, and sometimes, as the wind shifted, the steam yacht was hidden entirely from view. Fortunately the sea was comparatively calm, there being only a slight breeze from the northeast. As the Eagletboys heard Captain Bradley giving directions to some of the sailors to get ready todrew closer, the launch two of the small boats.
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"Dad, why can't we take another small boat and go out?" asked Phil of his father. "We know how to row. We did lots of it on the river up at Oak Hall." "Very well," answered Mr. Lawrence. "But I want all of you to keep out of danger." Soon they were within hailing distance of the steam yacht. They could now see the persons on deck plainly, and made out fully a score of men, and three or four women, and also one or two children. The smoke was as thick as ever, but so far no flames were visible. "Save us, oh, save us!" screamed some one aboard the burning vessel. "We are burning up!" The words had scarcely been uttered when there came from the interior of the steam yacht a dull explosion. Then, of a sudden, something that looked like a bunch of rockets flew up into the air. With a loud hissing and with sparks flying in all directions, the bunch of rockets described a graceful curve and then headed directly for the deck of theEaglet!
CHAPTER III
THE RESCUE AT SEA
"Look out there!" "Don't let those rockets hit you!" "Say, this is like a Fourth of July!" Such were some of the cries that came from the boys on the forward deck of the steamer when they saw the bunch of rockets flying swiftly toward them. They had barely time to leap to one side when, with a loud hissing, two of the rockets fell on the deck not far away. The others just grazed the rail and swept overboard. "We've got to put them out!" yelled Phil, and started to rush forward, intending to stamp on the rockets, when Dave hauled him back. "Look out, Phil! They may be on the point of explo——" Bang! Bang! Dave did not have time to finish what he was saying when the rockets went off in rapid succession, hurling the bits of fire in all directions. Phil was burnt a little on one cheek, and Dave and Roger each had a hand scorched, but that was all. Then, realizing that the worst was over, all the boys rushed forward and stamped out what was left of the flames. "Anybody hurt up there?" It was a cry from Captain Bradley, who came forward on a run, followed by Mr. Lawrence. "No. We're all right," gasped Phil. "But we might not be if it hadn't been for Dave;" and he gave our hero a grateful look. The explosion on the steam yacht had caused a wilder panic than ever, and in a twinkling a number of those on board leaped into the water. "Man the boats!" was the order from Captain Bradley. TheEaglethad already heaved to, and two rowboats manned by the sailors and commanded by the first mate and a boatswain were soon lowered to the water. While this was being done, the boys, led by Phil and Dave, rushed to a third rowboat. "Now be careful, boys," warned Mr. Lawrence. "Perhaps I had better go with you." "Just as you say, Dad," answered Phil. "We can take care of ourselves though." "All right then, I won't go, for you may want the room for those you pick up," answered the shipowner; and a moment later the rowboat was in the water and following the other small craft to the side of the burning vessel. Seeing those from theEagletcoming to the rescue, several others leaped overboard, so that those in the rowboats had all they could do to move without hitting any one. "Save me! Save me! Don't let me drown!" yelled an elderly man, and caught hold of one of the oars. "All right, we'll save you. Take it easy," returned the first mate of theEaglet; and soon those in the mate's rowboat had the man on board. In the meantime, the boat in command of the boatswain pulled in a woman and a little boy. Dave and his chums had their craft headed to where they had made out the forms of a woman and a girl struggling in the water. They soon reached the first of the pair, and after considerable difficulty managed to drag her on board.
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"Oh, thank you, thank you!" gasped the woman, as she sank down on the stern seat. "Now save Della! save Della!" she cried, and then suddenly collapsed. Dave had his eyes on the girl, and was on the point of reaching for her when she suddenly threw up her arms and disappeared. "She's gone under!" gasped Roger. "Will she come up again?" asked Shadow, anxiously. "There she is! Over there!" yelled Phil, and pointed to a spot several yards away. A hand and an arm had shown themselves, but that was all. In less than two seconds they disappeared again. Dave had done some rapid thinking. Before leaving the steamer the boys had thrown off their coats. Now standing up, Dave cast his cap to the bottom of the boat, and made a quick dive overboard. "He's gone after her!" "Good for Dave! It's the only thing to do if that girl is to be saved. " "Row on and keep your eyes wide open," directed Phil. "I don't think they'll get very far away." Dave had calculated the distance as closely as possible, and once under water he pushed ahead with all speed in the direction where he had seen the hand and arm. While at Oak Hall he had learned the trick of swimming under water with his eyes open, and this now stood him in good stead. "There she is," he thought, as he caught sight of something white passing just to the left of him. He made a quick turn, and a few seconds later had the girl by the hand. Then Dave caught her under the arms, and treading water, brought both her and himself to the surface. "There they are!" he heard Phil cry, and the next moment the rowboat came up close. "Oh, oh! sa—sa—save m—me!" spluttered the girl; and breaking loose, she swung around and caught Dave tightly by the neck.
DAVE CAUGHT HER UNDER THE ARMS,AND,TREADING WATER,BROUGHT BOTH HER AND HIMSELF TO THE SURFACE.—Page 24.
It was the strangle-hold of a drowning person, and our hero might have fared badly had not assistance been at hand. But as it was, Roger and Phil reached out, and while Shadow and Ben balanced the rowboat, this pair hauled the girl on board. Then they aided Dave in getting in. "Oh, oh! Is sh—she d—dead?" gasped the girl, as she looked at the woman who had collapsed on the stern seat. "No, she has only fainted," answered Roger. "She'll soon be over it." "How brave you are to come to our rescue!" went on the girl, turning to Dave. "I—I thought I was going to drown!" and she shuddered. "It was a pretty close call," answered Phil. "My friend here jumped overboard just in the nick of time."
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